- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
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Yes, the Calvert boys basketball team had two-time defending SMAC and Class 4A East Region champion North Point on the ropes with a five-point lead at intermission and were toe-to-toe up until the last two minutes of the third quarter.
However, the Eagles refocused and did their damage in the third, outscoring Calvert 36-15 in the period, en route to an eventual 91-73 victory.
North Point (16-1, 7-0 SMAC) is on a 13-game winning streak and is tied with only Thomas Stone (12-5, 7-0) for the top spot in the SMAC standings. With five games left, it will take on host Westlake at 5:30 p.m. today in the first game of a boys-girls doubleheader.
With a brief pep talk and some motivation from head coach Jimmy Ball, the Eagles were a different team in the second half versus a feisty Cavaliers squad.
“At halftime, we told the guys that this is your season and we want to do this for the seniors,” said North Point head coach Jimmy Ball, whose team is averaging 94.4 points per game this season. “We were down and we started to cause some turnovers in fullcourt man-to-man. At the end of the day, we did enough to win and that’s all you need to do around this time.”
North Point had four players in double figures as 6-foot-4 senior Matt Bonds scored 29 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, had seven steals and five assists. Senior forward Naim Muhammad had 17 points, while senior guard Marquis Wright had 13 points and senior forward Daylin Davis added 11 points.
“When we came out in the second half, we realized that we had to refocus and come out with some intensity,” Bonds said. “Calvert had a game plan and came at us, but we turned up the defense and that’s what we do we turn that into offense.”
After trading baskets early in the third quarter, Calvert trailed the Eagles 58-57 with four minutes left.
North Point extended the advantage to 65-57 with 1 minute 10 seconds left when senior guard Steven Cole nailed a three-pointer. North Point ended the quarter on a 17-2 run to take a 75-59 lead, capped by Wright’s three-pointer at the buzzer.
“We haven’t been down a lot this season, so we were worried a little bit,” Wright said. “We got off to a slow start, but we picked it up in the third quarter. We saw that Calvert started to get tired and we just kept pushing.”
The Eagles outscored Calvert only by two points in the fourth, but the Cavaliers were forced to play catch up and foul to stop the clock, allowing North Point to get to the free-throw line.
“We were able to break the pressure early and when you play North Point, you have to attack and you can’t sit back and be conservative,” Calvert head coach Jeremy Kurutz. “We got after it, but I thought North Point just wore us down in the second half and we ran out of gas. I don’t have 15 guys deep like they do and we started to get guys in foul trouble.”
North Point led 21-20 lead after the first quarter, but Calvert scored numerous transition points in the second to take a 44-39 halftime lead.
“We had nothing to lose,” said Calvert senior forward Josh Smith, who recorded a team-high 28 points, scoring 17 points in the first half. “We went at them aggressive and we were able to beat the press, but in the second half, we had turnovers in the third quarter.”
“For a big boy, Josh has great hands,” said Kurutz, whose team came off a 70-63 win on the road at Great Mills on Tuesday night in the makeup of a Jan. 25 postponement. “He really played well tonight.”
Ball added, “We gave up 24 points in the second quarter, we weren’t able to slow Calvert down as much as we wanted to. We just came out flat, but like you said, we wore them down tonight. This is a wake-up call for us, we still have some things to work on.”
Calvert senior Jermaine Hunter had 16 points, while senior Datavious Thomas scored 12 and senior guard Jeremy Upton added nine points in the loss.
“This was like a playoff type atmosphere,” Hunter said. “Our mentality was to come out hard and we did that today. In the third quarter, fouls hurt us and we just didn’t have any energy left.”
Calvert (12-6, 6-3) will take on host Huntingtown at 5 p.m. today in the first of a boys-girls doubleheader.